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3rd attempt - please, please answer urgently
Jul 18, 2001

Dear Dr Aberg,

I realise this forum is not designed for transmission questions but I have posted a query to the Safe Sex and HIV Prevention forum twice to no avail.

I am obsessed with the idea I could be infected with HIV. It occupies my thoughts all the time and I spend hours surfing the internet for answers.

I have had foot tinea, some of my toenails have had fungus (I understand this can be HIV related) and I recently had a peeling hand rash that I thought could be tinea also. (My doctor, however, thought it was more likely simple dermatitis. It got better after a day or two). This year I have also had sore mouth corners (no cracking or lesions though, now better) and eczema around the ankles for the first time ever (now better).

I have no risks through sex or needle sharing, and I had a test 10 years ago which would have ruled out infection through previous sexual encounters.

However... I continue to obsess and worry about possibilities of infection through:

1. Acrylic nail salon. One day a couple of years ago the operator told me there was a transsexual in the day before (some 15 hours before my appointment). I worry that this person could have sustained a nick that drew blood during filing (it happens very occasionally), then the cuticle oil which is applied to all clients'nails with a shared brush was contaminated and the virus passed to me. The operator insists there was definitely no blood, but I keep going over it and over it in my mind.

2. Being kissed by AIDS patient. I used to know a couple of guys who were infected and they once kissed me on the cheek. In my darker moments I worry about this too.

3. Contaminated dental implements. My dentist insists that they were among the first practices to initiate autoclave sterilisation and/or disposable equipment many years ago but I still worry, worry, worry.

I am too scared to be tested, I am on anti-depressants and the worry is ruining my life. Please help.

Response from Dr. Aberg

Why are you so obsessed with this?? This is definitely not healthy. You need to seek help ASAP to help you understand why you have this obsession. I suggest you find a mental health counselor to discuss your unwarranted fears or with whoever is prescribing your anti-depressants


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